Calls To Improve Medicare's Better Access Mental Health Program

'A barren landscape of services'


Troy Nankervis

31 March 2019

Troy Nankervis

Article heading image for Calls To Improve Medicare's Better Access Mental Health Program

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There's calls to improve Medicare's Better Access program, which gives Australians up to 10 subsidised sessions with a psychologist each calendar year.

Researchers say more support is needed to help people who are working through more complex mental health issues, with many using the program on a repeat basis.

Doctor Sebastian Rosenberg from the ANU Centre for Mental Health Research told the ABC the Better Access program is designed for people with more short-term conditions like mild depression or anxiety.

"At the moment, I would say we have primary care services," he said.

"You go see your GP, you go see your psychologist, and that there's almost nothing in between that service and the front door of the emergency department of your local public hospital."

"There's a barren landscape of services".

The Better Access initiative has been running for 13 years, costing taxpayers spending more than $800 million year.

Around 46,000 Australians are using the program on a weekly basis.

If you are concerned about your own emotional wellbeing, are experiencing a personal crisis or are concerned about someone else, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or at www.lifeline.org.au.

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